This is a very early darting gun patented by Ebenezer Pierce in 1865. It is complete with its original pole and line. The line is quite frail, and has been supported in some places by new marlin ties. It also has its original leather breech-covering sleeve, which is in good condition. (The New Bedford Whaling Museum owns probably the only other complete 1st model Pierce gun, but its leather sleeve is in badly deteriorated condition). There is a single mounting lug to accept the spike of the harpoon, fastened to the side of the barrel near the gun's muzzle. Because of that forward location, the original J shaped trigger rod is very long, being 43" from its forward end to the back of the "J". The gun has a heavy block iron hammer, cocked by means of a short rod (included), which is driven by a leaf spring against the nipple, to fire the gun. The end of the J holds the hammer in the cocked position until the trigger rod is forced backward. The metal gun is 20" in length; the pole is 49-1/2" in length. Near the end of the gun's socket is a hole, to which the line is connected and sleeved by a section of old leather. Near the end of the gun's socket it is stamped with the letters SS, which is probably the whaling ship's identification - perhaps the Ship SPLENDID of Edgartown, MV, possibly on its voyage of 1867. The pole is also stamped SS, seemingly with the same die. The rear of the brass barrel, just forward of the breech is stamped (E.) PIERCE (PTD) 1865 and there is the serial number 109 (probably indicating that it was the 9th gun made). The area of the barrel near the name and date, has noticeable wrench scars, most likely from unscrewing the barrel from the breech. The harpoon shown in the overall view is NOT included in this listing. The cleaning "worm" on the pole IS included.
This most desirable relic of the whaling industry came from the collection of the well known New Bedford whaling artist Clifford W. Ashley (author of The Yankee Whaler, published in 1926).